Startup DC to entrepreneurs: Don’t just network, do something

Original post by  via On Small Business

Creative commons licensed from Flickr user Lisa Byrne - Jonathan Aberman from Amplifier Ventures tells D.C. entrepreneurs to seek partnerships with large area corporations.

Speaking at Startup D.C. Tuesday night, United States Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra marveled at how fast-thinking Internet entrepreneurs can improve government services.

During a Jan. 17 meeting with the San Francisco cloud communications firm Twilio, Chopra mentioned that he and Jill Biden, the vice president’s wife, were hosting a showcase of apps for veterans the following day. Twilio CEO Jeff Lawson asked Chopra if the company could hold a developer contest and submit the winning entry to the showcase. Chopra was initially apprehensive because of the quick turnaround, but he agreed to let them try.

Twilio immediately tweeted the challenge, and within an hour, San Francisco developer Tony Webster submitted Hero Jobs, an app that helps veterans find job openings for their skills.

“How many of you will build education apps that kids can download for help with math problems they don’t understand?” he asked the room of entrepreneurs, investors and D.C. policymakers. “Please, innovate at the intersection of policy and these markets.”

Startup D.C. is one of the 17 regional branches of Startup America, the Obama administration’s push to provide resources and funds for people who start businesses, and was part of the flurry of events held to celebrate Startup America’s one-year anniversary this week.

Elsewhere, Startup Virginia announced Tuesday morning that it was launching a branch. Startup Maryland is preparing to start its own in the coming weeks.

At Startup Virginia, Steve Case, the former chief executive of AOL and chairman of the Startup America Partnership, told an audience at George Mason University that the Washington region has grown far more hospitable to high-growth companies since he helped build his Internet company in the early 1980s. The investment dollars he sought from Chicago, Toronto, Silicon Valley and other pockets of the country can now be found here, he said. Case also used his time behind the lectern to advocate for policy changes that he and other business leaders have said could promote entrepreneurship, such as granting visas to foreign-born students who graduate with advance degrees in math, engineering and science.